In 2010, the LAPD was given a $5 million dollar grant to create and fund the Community Safety Partnership program in Los Angeles. This year, the two leaders of the program: Cmdr. Phillip Tingirides and his wife, Sgt. Emada Tingirides, were recognized by the Anti-Defamation League for their efforts. The two officers were presented with the Helene and Joseph Sherwood Family Prize; an award designed to highlight those in law enforcement who go above and beyond their job description in an effort to combat hate, extremism and bigotry.

For decades, the LAPD has had an adversarial relationship with people in many of the communities in which they served – especially those who lived in Watts. After the Rodney King trial and subsequent riots, the LAPD began to enact changes in the ways that they trained their officers as well as procedural adjustments. As time went on, the LAPD enacted even more reforms, which culminated in changes to the ways they policed communities.

This change was dubbed “community policing,” and included a drastic change of approach. No more would officers patrol city streets like soldiers in a war zone. Instead, LAPD officers began to get involved with the community on a more personal level; holding meetings and discussions during which community members could voice their opinions and concerns.

The Community Safety Partnership was one such program enacted under the umbrella of “community policing.” Under the program, officers have been dispatched to a variety of Watts housing developments for the expressed purpose of learning and understanding the culture of the community they’re to be working in. The officers have filled a variety of roles within the community, including youth sports coaching and attending community health fairs.

The Anti-Defamation League’s recognition is pretty big, considering the sordid history of the LAPD. A future in which “community policing” tactics become more and more prominent in our communities promises a brighter future both for the public and those in the law enforcement community tasked with upholding the law.